Intestinal parasites in Bangladesh
|Intestinal worms Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura and hookworms are very common. Up to one third of the world’s population is infected with one or all of these parasites. Infection can lead to significant morbidity and because of reduced appetite and gut damage can result in lowered nutritional status, poor growth and impaired mental development.
A community trial carried out over 18 months duration on 2000 children living in four discrete rural areas of Bangladesh was used to monitor the impact of health education and regular deworming on changing water and sanitation practices, the prevalence and intensity of geohelminth infections and on nutritional status.
Four different interventions were used: one area (the control area, Kaliganj) received no further intervention, another (Palash) received continuous health education, a third area (Bhaluka) received deworming at six monthly intervals and the last area (Mirzapur) received deworming at six monthly intervals as well as health education.
Overall, the intervention programme led to a lowering in prevalence and intensity of worm infection but did not have any positive effect on child-development. Improvement in latrine and tubewell status was weakly related to a lowering in prevalence, but not at all to intensity of worm infection. The intervention combining a deworming and a health education programme was the most efficient, while the most cost-effective was deworming only.